God in our time, our time in God

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Memorial of San Padre Pio de Pietrelcina, Priest, 23 September 2022
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11   ><000'> + ><000'> + ><000'>   Luke 9:18-22
From Quotefancy.com
Thank you, dear God our
loving Father for your words 
today of the most common thing
we all have and share but
misunderstood and 
taken for granted,

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens… He (God) has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11
Indeed, there is a time for everything,
but you alone O God has determined
the perfect time for every event 
to happen in our lives and in history 
to which we have miserably failed to
respond properly, rightly as we 
manipulated "each" time we have without 
recognizing the uniqueness and
blessedness of every past,
present and future; there are times
we cling to the past, refusing to
learn its lessons that we find it hard
to move forward to the present as we
likewise deny the beauty and fulfillment 
of the future in you; forgive us for being
foolish not to see and recognize you in our time
that we often miss that great mystery 
and reality that we are in your time.
From Quotefancy.com
Thank you, dear God,
in giving us your Son Jesus Christ
that we are now able to understand
and accept not only his words but 
also the reality of his Passion, Death 
and Resurrection unlike the Twelve 
in their time; but, unlike them, 
until now we could not own 
and live that reality of Christ's pasch
in our very selves and own life that  
up to this time, many people are still
confused and could not find Jesus
truly present in our time.
Dearest Jesus,
I do not ask for the special
graces you gave our most
loved San Padro Pio; I do not need
stigmata nor powers to heal nor
read people of their sins; all I ask
you is the grace to live in your
presence always to experience
San Padre Pio's prayer,
"My past, O Lord, I entrust
to your mercy; my present
to your love; my future 
to your providence."

San Padre Pio,
Pray for us!
From UST Facebook, 2020.

The world is passing away

The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Wednesday in the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time, Year II, 07 September 2022
1 Corinthians 7:25-31   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Luke 6:20-26
Photo by author, Makati skyline from Antipolo, 12 August 2022.
Thank you, 
God our loving Father,
for this brand-new day;
in a few days, the week will
be over again as we move 
closer to another week,
to another month,
and on to another year!
There is no denying that the world
indeed is passing away as St. Paul
reminds us today in the first reading:

I tell you, brothers, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it. For the world in its present form is passing away.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Like what the psalmist
says today, let me listen to you,
dear God, let me see and bend 
my ear to experience and realize
that far more better than this life is
heaven awaiting us where we shall
enjoy your presence eternally!
Let us be on guard against that
great temptation that there is still time,
that we have plenty of time to spare,
not realizing that it is not really time that
passes by but us who are passing by
when we live in lavish wealth and luxury,
when we eat and drink without satiety,
when we laugh unmindful of the miseries 
around us, and when we relish and enjoy
the accolades and praises of others.

Grant us the grace and courage 
to choose you always in Jesus Christ 
who had come to us as poor and hungry, 
weeping and hated by everyone,
insulted and denounced for standing for 
what is true and good.
Lord, let us see in every
beginning the end of our lives
in you. Amen.

When time is not

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Friday, Week XXV, Year II in Ordinary Time, 25 September 2020
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11  >><)))*>  >><)))*>  >><)))*>   Luke 9:18-22
The wildfires created a natural Instagram filter across California. Photo from MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images; 10 September 2020.

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. He (God) had made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11

Thank you, dear God our Father in appointing time for everything, in creating the dimension of time and space so we can have a grasp of your vast reality in this universe. We are finite and you are not whom time and space cannot limit and hold.

Teach us to be open to your presence and grace in every moment of our lives, to make that constant effort to pray like your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer is so difficult for us because in our limited time and space, we try to be one with you who is infinite and eternal. We find it boring and a waste of time not only because it is difficult, requiring discipline on our part but because it requires a lot on us to truly love you.

Only love can bridge the finite and infinite, the temporal and eternal. When we are with our beloved, time neither rushes nor slows but seems to stand still like eternity as if we are holding it – when time is not. It is the same experience we have when we are deeply absorbed in prayer, when we feel that intense love for you inside when time passed so easily that an hour seemed like an instant, exactly like what you have said in the Bible that a thousand years are just a day for you.

Because you love. And we also love.

How lovely it is to read in the gospel today that once when Jesus was praying in solitude and the disciples were with him, that is when he surveyed them about what people were saying who he is, later asking them the same question up and personal.

Help us to appreciate and value silence and stillness, to befriend time and eternity in prayer to express our love for you and for others. Amen.

Photo by Dr. Mylene A. Santos, MD at Katmon Harbor Nature Sanctuary, Infanta, Quezon, May 2020.

Living As God’s Children

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, 20 January 2019
Feast of the Sto. Nino, Week II, Year C
Isaiah 9:1-6///Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18///Luke 2:41-52

            Sometimes when we look at our religious celebrations we get the impression that we as a people seem to be very ritualistic and even fanatics.  But, on deeper examinations, we find in these feasts the expressions of our deep faith nurtured through our history and culture as a nation by God’s invisible hand.  A perfect example is today’s Feast of the Sto. Nino celebrated every third Sunday of January that is proper only to our country in recognition of the important role played by the image of the Child Jesus in our Christianization almost 500 years ago.  All the readings and prayers of today’s Mass are taken from Christmas Season even if we are already in the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time because the Sto. Nino is an extension of Christmas.  Recall also that two weeks ago right after the Epiphany of the Lord we have celebrated the Traslacion in Quiapo featuring the adult Jesus Christ carrying the Cross more known as the Black Nazarene.  They are the two most popular Christ devotions in our country that every region and province, town and barrio up to the smallest sitio has its own version of celebrating Traslacion and/or Sto. Nino.  In both devotions we find the finest examples of our vibrant faith in Jesus Christ who became like us in everything except sin in order to save us, heal us, and bring us closer with one another as one big family with God as our Father.  And in both devotions too, Christ calls us to continue living into our adulthood as God’s little children like Him the Sto. Nino and the Black Nazarene.

            After three days of searching, Mary and Joseph found the 12 year-old child Jesus at the Temple and he said to them, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them.  He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.  And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man (Lk. 2:51-52). 

           From His childhood into His adulthood, Jesus remained a child of His heavenly Father and of His parents Mary and Joseph.  In this scene on His finding at the temple, we again see the centrality of Christ’s teaching of remaining like a child in order to belong to the kingdom of heaven.  And it was not only Him who showed it in this short account by St. Luke but also Mary and Joseph who “both did not understand” what Jesus had told them but still took care of Him very well as “He advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”  Here we find the importance of love in remaining children of God as shown by the deep love among the members of the Holy Family that is rooted in the Father’s love.  Notice how in this age of so much advancement in technologies that we have become more technical than personal, love has also suffered so greatly.  It is not only abused and misused but most of all, misunderstood.  Love has become a commodity that people think could be had simply and instantly like anything in a store or a vending machine, forgetting that love is more than a feeling but a decision we must keep.  Most of all, love is a choice we make by choosing what is most painful and most difficult because true love is found only on the Cross of Christ.

            This is what I am telling you at the beginning, the seemingly funny or weird flow of our celebrations after Christmas:  Traslacion and then Sto. Nino that are both anchored on love of God that did not merely happen in Christ’s birth and coming but most of all in His suffering and death on the Cross.  Love is often symbolized by the heart but its total meaning can only be found in the great sign of the Cross where we can find the perfect expression of Christian “childlikeness” and Christian maturity.  Recall how Jesus on the Cross remained a child of the Father to whom He entrusted His total self while at the same time remained faithful to His mission, resolutely going to Jerusalem to face His fate as a matured adult.  That is love when we can be tender and docile to our beloved and at the same time stand our ground to keep our promise, no matter what or how painful it could be.  It is a love until the end that is always willing to share and give, never thinking of anything in return.

              To be able to love like a child and remain loving as a matured adult like Jesus Christ, we need to always live in the present moment.  God revealed Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO AM” while in the gospels particularly in John’s, we find Jesus always declaring the great “I AM” as the Resurrection and life, the way, the truth and the life, as well as the good shepherd and the true vine.  God is love because He is always in the here and now, the present, not in the past and not in the future.  See how a child always has a time to take time as it comes, one day at a time, so calmly without advance planning and thinking or greedy hoarding of time.  Unlike us adults, we need planners and schedules to follow, finding or making time like a sausage to be sliced into portions to be eaten at a desired time.  Kids always live in the fullness of time like a cup of milk or water that has everything that for them, any time is a time to sleep, a time to eat, a time to play.  And that is why they love all the time!  We adults are so pressured and stressed that even in loving others and especially God, we always bargain with time as if it can be done.  We love to postpone time because we are not yet ready, even refusing to move on as we dwell with our painful past.  Remember the warning of Jesus that nobody knows the time when He shall come that we must always be on guard and ready for that time by always loving God and others all the time.  Recall our quotation last week that says, “For people who rush, time is fast; for people who wait, time is slow; but, for people who love, time is not.”  A child of God lives in the present because he knows, like Jesus Christ, every moment is the fullness of time we must receive with gratitude because in every present moment we have everything.  This is totally different from the young people’s concept of “YOLO” that is actually about living in the future now being advanced without realizing the beautiful present moment.

             To be a child of God like the Senor Sto. Nino is to walk in the “great light” of Christ, our “Wonder-counselor, God-hero, Father-forever, and Prince of Peace” (Is.9:1,5) who calls us to love every moment of our lives by living in the present.  May Jesus “enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones” (Eph.1:18).  AMEN.  Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

*Photo is a painting of Sto. Nino devotees by Bulakenyo artist Aris Bagtas.  Used with permission.

Value of Time

LordMyChef “TGIF” Quote, 17 August 2018:

“You must be ruthless with your time.  Learn to say no.  Having the courage to say no to the little things in life will give you the power to say yes to the big things… Ironically, people will respect you more when they see that you are a person who values his time.  They will realize that your time is precious and they will value it.”  Robin S. Sharma, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, page 166.


Photo by Fr. Nick F. Lalog II, Sacred Heart Novitiate (Novaliches), July 4-6, 2018.